John Thomas Lenahan O’Connell was elected the 40th Commander-in-Chief of the MOLLUS in 1967 and served two terms (1967 – 1969 and 1969 - 1971).
Though the child of Boston parents, Companion O’Connell was born in 1913 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in order to have his mother’s Pennsylvania uncle deliver him. Raised in Boston, he attended Boston College (Class of 1934) and the law schools of Harvard University, and of Boston University, where he received his law degree in 1938.
Companion O’Connell entered military service in World War II as a Second Lieutenant of field artillery, 79th Division, United States Army. After promotion and service in the 86th Division, he attended the Judge-Advocate school in Ann Arbor in 1944, thereafter posted with the JAG Corps in Dutch New Guinea and in the Philippines, where he was promoted to Captain. He served in the occupation force in Yokohama, Japan in 1945 before being discharged at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Beside a long and distinguished career in the practice of law, he served in the Army Reserve, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1973.
Companion O’Connell married Priscilla Halloran in 1942. They had three sons: Lenahan, Donn, and Brendan, all of whom are Companions of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion (MOLLUS).
Companion O’Connell joined the MOLLUS in 1957, and served the Massachusetts Commandery in a variety of roles before being elected the 40th Commander-in-Chief of the MOLLUS in 1967. He also served as Secretary of the Massachusetts Commission on the Civil War Centennial; as a Member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public Library; and as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, among other appointments.
His organizational life memberships beside the MOLLUS include the Eire Society, the American Legion, the Massachusetts Military Academy, and the Knights of Columbus.
Biography prepared by
Jeffry Burden, Commander-in-Chief
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
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